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Allan

Cass Tech won't face wrecking ball

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It's about time for some good news out of Detroit. It should be a crime to even consider leveling the building.

Cass Tech won't face wrecking ball, district says

Alumni to study ways to reuse city landmark

June 29, 2004

BY CHASTITY PRATT

FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER

The old Cass Technical High School building has dodged the wrecking ball.

Detroit Public Schools has taken the 87-year-old building off the demolition list and an exploratory committee is researching ways to put it to use, officials said Monday.

School officials had planned to raze the 7-story school and replace it with softball fields and parking once students moved into the $120-million adjacent building now under construction.

Among the reasons the district planned to level the old Cass was because it was deemed inefficient.

But Cass Tech graduates changed all of that.

"There are emotional attachments to the building that run very deep," said Robert Francis, executive director in charge of capital improvements in the district. Preliminary ideas for the building's usage include lofts, retail and office space. The exploratory committee is now working to create a legal entity to which the district could transfer the title, he said. That entity would then have to find a developer.

"The use has to be compatible with being a neighbor for a premier high school," Francis said.

Larry Patrick, president of the Cass Tech Alumni Association, said the group has met with artistic and cultural community, nonprofit and governmental agencies to garner ideas that would make sure the building enriches the Cass corridor.

The committee hopes to announce a plan for the building by November, said Patrick, a 1963 Cass graduate.

The new Cass Technical High is scheduled to be completed in January and open for school in fall 2005 to 2,400 students.

Contact CHASTITY PRATT at313-223-4537 or [email protected]

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Finally! Great news for Detroit because they need to learn that restoring buildings is neccessary in maintaining a beautiful city. New buildings just don't cut it sometimes.

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Yeah, apparently the only reason the building isn't facing going to be demolished is that the Detroit Public Schools don't have the money to do it. The school system is in really bad shape. Not only have many of its schools received a failing grade from the state, but the district is also facing a $250 Million budget shortfall. It has lost 23,000 students since 2000. It will be eliminating 3200 jobs and closing five buildings, but that won't be nearly enough.

To make matters worse, all the schools are really old, with many of them 80+ years old and literally falling apart, but with no money to fix them. Apparently Cass Tech is really bad on the inside. From what I'm told, it's nearly all original...not many update have been made in a long time.

DPS does have a bond issue coming up. I'm not sure for how much, but the one in 1994 was for $1.5 billion. I've heard that if the bond issue passed, funds would be used to demolish Cass Tech. But this is Detroit...anything can happen.

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